A Short ABC On CNC Woodworking
CNC or computer numerical control machines are machine tools that are automated and controlled by resident computer programs. The umbrella group of woodworking recognize the fact that with CNC, they are branching into other materials – soft metals and plastic as of now.
With new CNC machines coming into the picture, the output from these machines run the range of very simple to the very complex. They can create sophisticated shapes as dictated by the program. These CNC machines are operated by computer files created by CAD/CAM programs.
A number of new CNC machines have built-in design programs. This way, the programmers can make changes on the fly and design pieces with the machine. The following is a short walk-through of some of the very important processes and tools of the craft.
CNC Routers are the machines that are programmed to shape wood in specific and precise shapes and sizes. These files are also created by CAD/CAM programs.
The old traditional routers are usually supervised by humans while CNC routers are totally automated.
These are the CNC machines that are used to shape metals and other types of materials. They could be vertical or horizontal types. (This simply applies to the direction in which the cutting tool is oriented.)
In CNC milling, both the materials and the tool move. This provision permits greater precision in the quality of the finished products. More complex items are also produced.
These specialized tools are machines that spin a piece of material to carve a specific finished product, or other various forms of work on them. Controlled by computer programs, CNC lathes can be programmed to do a variety of functions.
These can include metalworking and spinning, glass working and wood turning.
CNC Laser cutters
Programmed through specially-designed computer files, CNC laser cutters are designed to cut materials like metals. Generally, cutting using laser is more precise and much finer than any other mechanical cutting tools.
Completely automated and programmable, these are machines that can drill holes in various types of materials. This machine forms part of the entire manufacturing process, wherever holes must be drilled.
With the advent of CNC machines servicing in the woodworking industry, there had been a considerable drop in the number of human errors that used to pepper manual machining.
Moreover, the end products from CNC-controlled machinery have been exact duplicates to one another. Parts are made the same way every time. As long as the tooling holds up, there will be little or no human intervention at all.
There are now different levels of CNC machines for every use – from standard controls that accept G code to sophisticated programs that can help design parts in 3D, to lathes that can cut at any angle.
Thinking where the next advancement for CNC woodworking would be is exciting enough already.